Wanting to teach the preteens in my class about the choices they make regarding their attitudes and strife in their lives, finding a suitable visual aid was proving to be difficult. Sitting on my bed after rummaging through cupboards, my eyes fell on my two Levi jackets…one that is over-sized and quite comfortable and the other is a fitted jacket that fits, well a bit more snuggly. Like a flash of lightning, an idea popped into my head. A wild idea, but amazing idea.
Armed with two different colors of duct tape, red for the over-sized jacket and white for the fitted jacket and a marker I began to label the jackets. The over-sized jacket is my “strife” jacket that was labeled with different “negative attitudes”. You know the ones, a deep s-i-i-g-h when you ask them to do something, slamming of the doors, back talk, ignoring requests, being disrespectful, arguing, selfishness and my all time favorite…the rolling of the eyeballs! I labeled my sleeves, the back of my jacket, on the pockets, where ever I found a place for the red duct tape. On the other jacket, with the white tape, I labeled all the positive attitudes that were the opposite of strife, “I’ll do it now,” thank you, I would like you to have the biggest part, “I can do that for you,” etc.
The next morning in class as I slipped on the over-sized and comfy jacket I on, I began telling them how a “negative or bad attitude” can feel like my comfy jacket…easy to put on, comfortable like an old friend, familiar, and “you just grab and throw it on without thinking.” I asked the kids how many of them had these bad attitudes…one of the boys shouts out “All of them!” As I took off the over-sized jacket and slipped into my fitted jacket (struggling a bit for show), I relayed how challenging it is to change your negative attitude but with God’s help we can change it into a positive attitude. After we talked about all the new attitudes that were written on my jacket.
Taking off my jackets, holding one in each hand, I asked which attitude are they going to choose this week, the old comfy, negative attitude or the new, cheerful attitude. Then I threw out a challenge for them to do over the next week…if they changed their “bad” attitude to a “good” attitude when they were asked to do something, they would get 50 extra tickets (we do a monthly gift card drawing).
Last weekend, we recapped our lesson about changing our attitudes and found that 10 of them changed their attitudes at least once during the week!